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Damascus Theatre Company Urinetown, The Musical

By • Oct 25th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Urinetown, The Musical
Damascus Theatre Company
Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, Olney Theatre Center, Olney, MD
Through October 26th

This is the Show Biz Radio Review of Urinetown, performed by Damascus Theatre Company in Olney, Maryland. We saw the performance on opening night, Thursday, October 23, 2008.

Urinetown is a musical with book by Greg Kotis, lyrics by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman, and music by Mark Hollman. Urinetown, the Musical is a winking love letter to the conventions of musical theater-an untempered satire where no one is safe from scrutiny. In a world wracked by ecological disasters, a single malevolent company profits by charging admission fees for one of humanity’s most basic needs. A tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold-complete with a hero named Bobby Strong and a heroine named Hope.

Although one of the words in the title of the show is not one typically used in polite company, the music, choreography, and staging was crisp and fast. The energy was high and and both the cast and the audience had a great time. It was difficult hearing all the singing, with the audience sitting on two sides of the playing area, resulting in many times when actors were facing away from audience members.

The lead rebel Bobby Strong was played by Brett Harwood. Harwood did a great job of gathering his followers and coordinating the rebellion. He was passionate in his beliefs. His best song was in the second act when he led ‘Run Freedom Run.’ Harwood’s gestures as he directed his “choir” were purposeful and forceful. Strong’s girlfriend and Cladwell’s daughter Hope Cladwell was played by Stephanie Bonte-Lebair. Hope’s character was innocent and somewhat naive towards the drought. She was always looking on the bright side. Nothing seemed to break her perky spirit.

Officer Lockstock the narrator and chief of police was played perfectly by Patrick Doneghy. As the narrator, Doneghy kept things moving along. As the chief of police, Doneghy was out to crush the rebellion. He accepted his role as narrator, and had fun telling the story with the audience. His interactions with Little Sally, played sweetly by Alyssa Van Veldhuizen, were playful as he charmed her.

Penelope Pennywise (Elissa Borzilleri) brought a sultry air to the stuffy role of the head of Public Amenity #9. Bobby the Stockfish (Lefty R. Gyle) and Robby the Stockfish (Art Vandalay) had several cute unscripted moments throughout the production, including bobby’s bows at the end of the show.

The set for Urinetown was simple yet creative. There were two main sets: Public Amenity No. 9 and the office of Caldwell B. Cladwell, the president of UGC. There were two sets of portable stairs that were used creatively in several dance numbers. The Master Carpenters were Bill Lebair and Jim Korte. The choreography was impressive, considering the tight area available for dancing within the Public Amentity space. ‘Cop Song’ was very well done, complete with the rotating staircases in several positions. The choreographer was also the show’s director, Kevin Kuchar. Most of the costumes (designed by Sharon Rea) were shades of gray, which worked quite well for this show.

A drawback to the show was the sound. This production took place at the Olney Theatre Center’s Theatre Lab, a black box theater with high ceilings. None of the actors were using microphones and so their voices did get muddled if they were not facing you. There were a couple numbers that involved tap dancing. During those numbers, you could not hear what was being sung. If you see this production, try to sit as close as possible to the center of the seating area.

Urinetown is a fun musical that you will enjoy. It ran two hours and ten minutes with one intermission. It is playing this weekend only, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday the 26th at 2 pm at the Olney Theatre Center, Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab in Olney, Maryland. Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment here on our website at ShowBiz Radio.net. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC Region..

And now, on with the show.

Director’s Notes

In doing research for my director’s notes about Urinetown I came across a description too fantastic not to quote, a tall order to be sure! Here is a popular definition of this aclaimed musical:

Urinetown The Musical is an award-winning musical that pokes fun at capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and petty small town politics, while advocating environmentalism. Urinetown rejects musical theatre convention, parodying successful Broadway shows such as Les Misérables, Evita, Annie, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and even satirizes its own significance. Wikipedia on Urinetown

Cast

  • Officer Lockstock: Patrick Doneghy
  • Penelope Pennywise: Elissa Borzilleri
  • Bobby Strong: Brett Harwood
  • Little Sally: Alyssa Van Veldhuizen
  • Hope Caldwell: Stephanie Bonte-Lebair
  • Mr. McQueen: Dennis Hawkins
  • Old Man Strong/Senator Flipp: Jim Korte
  • Tiny Tom: Niko Stamos
  • Soupy Sue: Jennifer Blanton
  • Little Becky Two Shoes: Ellie Borzilleri
  • Robby the Stockfish: Art Vandalay
  • Officer Barrell: Bruce Rosenberg
  • Caldwell B. Cladwell: Phil Hosford
  • Josephine Strong: Kim Busch
  • Hot Blades Harry: Hugh Gordon
  • Rebel Poor: Kim Busch, Amy Clason, Dennis Hawkins, Jim Korte, Samantha Melkonian, Lisabeth Stephens
  • UCG Girls: Jennifer Blanton, Ellie Borzilleri, Amy Clason, Samantha Melkonian, Lisabeth Stephens
  • Cops: Ellie Borzilleri, Amy Clason, Lisabeth Stephens, Hugh Gordon, Dennis Hawkins, Jim Korte

Crew

  • Artistic Director & Choreographer: Kevin Kuchar
  • Producer: Barbara Lang
  • Vocal Music Director/Conductor: Megan Hartten
  • Assistant Choreographer: Lisabeth Stephens
  • Rehearsal Pianist: Barbara Lang
  • Stage Manager: Cathy Clark
  • Costumer: Sharon Rea
  • Technical Director/Lighting Designer: Rick Swink
  • Sound Design: Vitol Wiacek
  • Scenery Artist: Judy Feola
  • Props: Cathy Calrk and Barbara Lang
  • Master CArpenters: Bill Lebair and Jim Korte
  • Set Construction Crew: Stephanie Bonte-Lebair, Kim Busch, Hugh Gordon, Dennis Hawkins, Joel Ketchum, Jennifer Korte, Bill Rippey, Bruce Rosenberg
  • Stage/Tech Crew: Bill lebair, Bill Stamos
  • Program/PR: Elissa Borzilleri, Barbara Lang, Elli Swink
  • Logo Design: Ken Kemp
  • House Manager/Ticket Sales: Eli Swink

Orchestra

  • Conductor: Megan Hartten
  • Woodwinds: Kristofer Sanz
  • Trombone/Euphonium: Kenny Horan
  • Bass: Bradley King (Chris Hartten 10/24)
  • Percussion: Bobak Shafiei
  • Piano: Barbara Lang
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

3 Responses »

  1. […] ShowBizRadio: Review of Damascus Theatre Company’s Urinetown, The Musical […]

  2. Mike and Laura,
    Thank you for your incredible review! We are so delighted that you enjoyed the show, and that you shared your comments with the rest of the local theatre community. The performance last night was a sell-out, and the same is true for tonight, based on our advance ticket sales.
    Thanks for all your support – and your great website!!

    Barbara

  3. Mike and Laura

    My husband and I just returned home from seeing Damascus Theatre Company’s Urinetown and found it to be extremely entertaining. Our friends that joined us agreed with me that we wished the show had a longer run. The show was directed, acted and choreographed beautifully. For those people who did not get a chance to see the show, what a BIG shame. It was such a fun evening! Keep up the good work Damascus Theatre Company!

    Cathy